A new page of history has already been written. In the 92-year history of the World Cup, Qatar became the first three Asian teams to reach the last sixteen. One of those three teams, Australia’s World Cup, ended yesterday. Socceroo lost to Lionel Messi’s Argentina. The burden of carrying the flag of Asia in the World Cup is now on the shoulders of the two superpowers of Asian football, Japan and South Korea.
Both these Far East teams are entering the field today. Japan’s opponent is last time’s runner-up Croatia at nine o’clock Bangladesh time. South Korea will take on five-time champions Brazil at one o’clock in the morning. What new history will be written in Asian football, or will the journey of Asians in the Asian World Cup end today?
Asia’s highest achievement in the World Cup is fourth. South Korea, the co-host of the World Cup, achieved that feat in the 2002 World Cup. Today at Stadium 974 in Doha, the Korean test is the big one. Neymar’s Brazil is ahead. Heung-min Son’s hand to change history in front of South Korea. The history is Brazil’s record against Asian teams in the World Cup. The Brazilians have never lost against any Asian team. However, such an unbeaten record of Brazil was also against African teams. Tit’s team has achieved that enviable record after coming to Qatar World Cup. Brazil will enter the field today with fresh wounds from the loss of the last match of the group stage to Cameroon.
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Who knows if the Koreans will be able to make Neymar’s wounds even worse! But if the incident still happens today, it will be one of the biggest feats in the history of Asian football.
If the Japanese can also give good news before South Korea enters the field, and if Korea can double that good news at night, then Asian football will see a new horizon. More than one team from Asia has never reached the quarter-finals in a World Cup.
Asian teams have reached the World Cup quarter-finals only twice. North Korea for the first time in 1966. England went 3-0 up against Portugal in the last eight of that World Cup, but the North Koreans eventually lost. How did North Korea lose that day at the feast of a football wizard named Eusebio? Mozambican-born Eusebio won the Portuguese 5-3 by scoring four goals each. After 36 years the success of the North was surpassed by the South.
The Japanese, however, were never able to break through in the second round; After reaching the second round of the 2002 World Cup on home soil, Russia also reached the last sixteen at the 2018 World Cup. The Japanese lost to Belgium despite going 2-0 ahead.
Read More: Japan Dreams of Defeating Croatia in the Quarter-Finals
What will happen now, will Japan be able to bury the nightmare of Rostov in Al Wakrah Al Zanoob Stadium? Fans can expect that from the team’s performance in the group stage. Who would have thought that Japan would be the group champion, leaving two former world champions behind in the ‘E’ group? Japan, who opened their World Cup campaign by defeating four-time champions Germany, also defeated 2010 champions Spain in their last match. Compared to Spain-Germany, today’s opponent Croatia is surprisingly far behind. But the fear is that, even after losing two champions, the Japanese lost to a ‘weak’ team like Costa Rica.
South Korea also has inspiration. They have the experience of beating Brazil. In 1999, South Korea defeated Brazil in a friendly match. However, Brazil has won six of the previous six matches, the most recent of which was a 5-1 victory last June.
Remembering 1999, South Korea will enter the field today. And the Japanese are on par with the Croats as a head-to-head fight. Japan-Korea can dream of taking Asian football to a new height.